How to Kidnap a Princess

by The Engineer Pony

Chapter 12 - The Explanation

The previous day…

Twilight Sparkle carefully picked her way through the undergrowth of the Everfree Forest. Her eyes meticulously scanned the foliage around her. She remembered the general location of the place she was looking for, but it would not be easy to spot in the dense forest.

After visiting Zecora, Twilight had many things to consider. She had originally assumed it had just been a mistake when a bouquet of poison joke had shown up at her castle. Zecora had suggested, though, that somepony had deliberately sent Twilight the flowers to prevent her from using magic. Twilight intended to discover why.

Which meant Twilight needed to wander the Everfree Forest in search of something very specific. And she would have to hurry, because she needed to find the place before she lost her magic to the affliction of the poison joke.

Twilight picked up her pace. She was sure it was around here somewhere. Granted, it was concealed deep enough in the forest that nopony would ever run across it by accident, but since Twilight had been there once before, she ought to be able to—

There! Twilight finally caught a glimpse of her target. She hurried forward, glad that she had found it in time. Her search had been successful, and as she emerged from a tangle of brambles into a small clearing, Twilight basked in the excitement of reaching her destination.

A large, worn rock lay half buried in the ground before her.

Twilight smiled. She quickly grasped the stone with her magic and moved it to the side, revealing a deep hole concealed underneath. Without a moment’s hesitation, Twilight jumped down into the dark abyss. Spreading her wings, she glided through the tunnel until she emerged in a wondrous underground cavern.

Sparse vegetation bathed the cave in dim phosphorescent light, illuminating the walls with a pale green tint. Strange, twisted rock formations ringed the edge of the chamber. Water dripped from stalactites and gurgled down a small stream. These waters congregated in the center of the cave, where a clear pond glistened. Its smooth surface perfectly reflected the dark vines hanging overhead.

The Mirror Pool.

Twilight sat down at the edge of the shimmering mere. She resisted the alluring call to bathe in the cool waters, and waited patiently on the shore. It would be an extraordinarily bad idea to create a clone that possessed to the power of an alicorn. So Twilight sat quietly, until at last she felt the poison joke take effect.

Gazing into her reflection below, Twilight saw the characteristic blue spots on her horn that indicated an infection. She attempted to lift a pebble in her magic and skip it across the pond, but it refused to respond to her arcane command.


Twilight delicately pulled a book out of the pouch on her back. Without the aid of her magic, she immediately managed to drop it in the pond. Two identical books floated to the surface of the water, giving Twilight a brilliant idea on how to save on publishing costs.

But she was not here to figure out ways to crash Equestria’s economy. Instead, Twilight lifted one of the books and held it before her. Then, taking care to be engrossed in her reading, Twilight murmured an old rhyme and stepped into the mere.

The world flipped upside down. One moment, Twilight was descending into the water, the next she was staring at a perfect duplicate of herself as it emerged from the pool. The clone matched her in every aspect, from the limp horn atop its head to the book held in front of it.

“It worked!” Twilight exclaimed. She clapped her hooves together in glee. The duplicate ignored her and continued to read.

“Now I need to get back to the castle without anypony seeing my duplicate.” Twilight paced around her oblivious doppelgänger as she mused. “Then I can use Zecora’s remedy to get my magic back and figure out who’s behind all of this.”

Twilight turned to leave. She walked several paces before noticing her clone had not budged. With a sigh, Twilight went back and started dragging the duplicate behind her.

The clone was too absorbed in its book to notice.

“…And then, once I had my magic back, I used Haycartes’ method to hide in the books I had scattered around my castle. It was perfect! The clone reflected the aspect of me that enjoys reading, so it always had a book with it. When Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash captured my duplicate, I was able to follow along from the safety of the novel it was reading,” Twilight finished.

“Wow, Twilight, that’s really impressive,” Sunset Shimmer said. “Most ponies can only maintain that spell for a few minutes.”

The two girls lounged on the steps in front of Canterlot High School. Sunset had been delighted to see her friend waiting outside the school when class had ended an hour earlier. Since then, Sunset and Twilight had been chatting peacefully, catching up on what had been happening in each other’s lives.

“I’ve been practicing with my friend Moondancer,” Twilight replied modestly. “She’s even better at it than I am.”

“So what happened when they found you?” Sunset asked eagerly. “Did you continue hiding, or did you materialize right in front of everyone and scare them?”

“Well,” said Twilight, “when I heard Applejack yelling at Rainbow Dash outside my cell, I knew the time had come. I exited the book, banished my clone back to the Mirror Pool, and home teleported to my castle, all without anypony noticing. Then I decided to come over here for a visit.”

“Leaving everyone else confused as to how you got your magic back,” Sunset laughed.

“Yeah. And while everypony is still trying to figure out what happened, I get to spend a few days over here with you and the others,” Twilight added.

“I’m glad you came over,” Sunset said. “It’s great getting a chance to talk about magic with another pony. Spending time with the girls is a lot of fun, but whenever I bring up teleportation or gravity spells, I just get a bunch of blank looks.”

“I’ll bet you do,” giggled Twilight. “Just like how I can’t get anypony in Equestria to understand what an ‘internet’ is.”

After another few seconds of chuckling, the conversation fell into a comfortable lull. The two friends were content just to sit there, admiring the clear sky above and contemplating the differences between the worlds of ponies and humans. Then a question rose in Sunset’s mind.

“So what about Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash? With you gone, aren’t they going to get in trouble for kidnapping a princess?”

Twilight frowned for a moment. Then the worry left her face as she said, “I’m sure my friends can take care of it. I mean, what’s the worse that could happen?”

“Pinkie Pie?”

“Yes, Dashie?”

Rainbow Dash glanced down at the chains securing her hooves to the floor of their cell in Tartarus.

“I am never listening to one of your ideas again.”